I think most of my regular blog readers know that my Dad, who is only 59 yrs old, is in the late stages of Alzheimer's Disease. Watching a loved one slowly slip away from you emotionally and cognitively while they remain (for the most part) physically intact creates a very difficult and unique grieving process. In reality, the amazing man who raised me is already gone and has been gone for quite some time. I mean sure - there's an unresponsive, agitated, incontinent, grumpy, anxious, weird-smelling, detached man who essentially looks exactly like the man who raised me - but trust me, that is NOT the man who raised me. However, I'm finding it harder and harder to remember that amazing man who was my father and instead when I think of my Dad, I first think of THIS difficult person. And that is my greatest fear - that all of my wonderful childhood memories will slowly be replaced with memories of this person that Alzheimer's Disease has left us with. And I had a pretty kick-ass childhood in great part because I had such a kick-ass Dad!! I don't want to forget that.
So when I discovered the Good Grief blog - a scrapbooking journey through loss and healing - and their scrapbooking challenges related to helping you scrapbook and journal about a loved one you have lost, I decided this might be just what I need to help me deal with the roller coaster of emotions I am experiencing as I watch my father quickly decline. And hopefully, this will help me hold on to more of those happy memories and not dwell so much on what's happening now. And yeah, I realize technically my Dad isn't DEAD, but for all intents and purposes my Dad is already gone, ya know?
So anyway, I hope you all are OK with me sharing my Good Grief creations here every now and then. These will be my "Therapeutic Posts"! LOL. So here goes my first Good Grief Challenge...
February's challenge is to Use Word Association. That's it. Open to plenty of interpretation. I was inspired by Amanda's Layout - I really liked how she listed a lot of random things that reminded her of her father and I wanted to do something similar, but with a focus on a few key descriptive words and include one of my favorite photos of my Dad, taken just 4.5 yrs ago before Alzheimer's disease robbed us of him. Here's my digital layout (click on the layout to view it larger if you'd like to read the journaling):
Credits: Boyfriend Jeans by Scrapkitchen Designs (Sweet Shoppe); Template from Collection 8 by Janet Phillips (Sweet Shoppe)
Of course, these aren't the only things that make my Dad who he was - but the small words / phrases are more like little "memory joggers" for me - each of them tells a story from my childhood, each special and significant in it's own way - some funny, some poignant and some just very specific memories I want to hold onto.
Thanks for letting me share this with you today!